The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Time to cut bait

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Of all the situations Mike Shanahan inherited, none was more toxic -- and more permanent -- than what has been created by Albert Haynesworth.

Shanahan was able to take control of personnel, switch to the offensive and defensive schemes he prefers, bring in a veteran quarterback he feels will provide the best chance of winning, and put his stamp on an organization that has underperformed to an almost comical degree over the past decade. But bad teams don't become bad teams without onerous, team-killing contracts, and that's what Shanahan also got with Haynesworth. He and new GM Bruce Allen had to plunk down $21 million in roster bonus money for a guy who has displayed nothing but contempt for the team that is paying him more guaranteed money than any player in league history, and that was just to start.

In the end, I think Shanahan has handled this Haynesworth issue about as well as he can. He knows that he will win in the court of public opinion -- Haynesworth is the very definition of an unsympathetic character -- but that's not the point. The point is to get your best 53 on the field and win games. And in the end, I'm not sure that Haynesworth's talent is worth all the ancillary drama. And I don't believe this situation will get any better. Haynesworth stroked me as a guy who isn't happy unless he's unhappy; he's a guy who will create problems just to have them in the atmosphere.

We all know that Shanahan will outlast Haynesworth on this team. There is no way the player will live out the years on his contract, and I'm not sure this situation can even be solved to anyone's satisfaction this season. Perhaps it's best for the team to get whatever it can out of Haynesworth on the field in the short term, and then, when a contending team (preferably with a 4-man front) suffers an injury at the defensive tackle position, simply unload Haynesworth for whatever draft pick they can get.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has already proven that his defense is versatile and interesting enough to succeed without Haynesworth on the field, and going through the season without Haynesworth could be just the cure for any bad feelings that hang over a Redskins team that doesn't need any more drama.

By Doug Farrar  |  August 24, 2010; 8:34 AM ET  | Category:  Doug Farrar , NFL , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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